The alcoholic beverages that could hike your risk of dementia

Dementia: Dr Sara on benefits of being in nature

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There is no conclusive evidence that the risk of dementia can be offset, but some lifestyle choices may contribute to cognitive decline. The most prominent health hazards include smoking and drinking in excess. Wines, spirits on the rocks and low-carb beer are supposedly among the least harmful alcoholic drinks. When mixed with other mixers, however, the risk of dementia could raise substantially.

Studies have consistently shown that certain alcoholic drinks and drinking patterns can be particularly damaging to the brain.

It’s often transpired that binge drinking, or drinking large amounts of alcohol in a small space of time, has the most deleterious effects.

But the impact of different alcohol types on brain dysfunction has been less clear.

Some studies suggest that all types of alcoholic beverages are equally damaging to the brain, such as spirits, beer and wine.

This was highlighted by a UK study of 25,00 people, which established that even moderate alcohol intake could lower grey matter density.

While the risk may be equal for all alcohol, some attention may be worth paying to the beverages consumed alongside it.

A 2021 study published in the Journal of Prevention of Alzheimer’s disease highlighted the hidden dangers of certain beverages.

It found that consuming drinks high in fat, sugar and alcohol is among the three worst drinking habits for anyone at risk of dementia.

The study of approximately 2,500 discovered that those who drank one to seven servings of sugar-sweetened beverages per week were 1.91 times more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease, compared to those who consumed none.

Additionally, those who consumed more than seven servings of sugar-sweetened beverages per week were 2.55 times more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease.

These findings were unchanged after accounting for other facts like hypertension, smoking, diabetes and body mass index.

Similarly, research published in the journal Neurology has also proven that people who consume the highest levels of saturated fat have a 44 percent higher risk of developing dementia, compared to those who don’t.

Researchers believe the link between fatty foods and dementia could be due to the fact that fatty foods increase inflammation.

Further research is needed, however, before any conclusions are made regarding the link between fatty foods and dementia.

What’s more, the results linking alcohol to dementia are conflicting, as some studies suggest there may be some benefits to reap from moderate drinking for the brain.

Earlier this year, research published in the journal Addiction, found that drinking the equivalent of two pints of beer per day could lower the risk of dementia by a third.

Regardless, it’s important to be aware of the health risks associated with excessive drinks and to take extra precautions to protect brain health.

The most important risk factor for Alzheimer’s and other dementia is increasing age, although dementia is not a normal part of ageing.

After the age of 65, the risk of dementia doubles every five years, so individuals are advised to take extra care of their health.

Staying socially active, adhering to a healthy diet and exercising regularly, can promote a healthy brain.

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